A regular at the Cannes Film Festival (he has presented The Yards, We Own the Night and Two Lovers, and was a Jury member in 2009), James Grey has entered this year with The Immigrant.
In 1921, two Polish sisters running away from the Great War in Europe sail to New York. Magda is ill, so doctors decide to quarantine her on Ellis Island; her sister Ewa finds herself alone until Bruno, a pimp, takes her under his wing and forces her into prostitution. One day she meets with Bruno’s cousin, magician Orlando, who offers her a chance to escape the life she’s suffering, leading to a battle between the cousins for the beautiful Polish girl’s heart.
Starring Joaquin Phoenix as twisted lover Bruno, Marion Cotillard as lost and fragile Ewa and Jeremy Renner as Orlando the magician with a troubled past, The Immigrant’s two hours at times seems to last too long. The cast in general is fairly convincing and Daruis Khondji’s cold and dark cinematography aptly captures and emphasises the atmosphere of the period. Nevertheless, emotions stay on the surface, and the recurrent sad music splashed through emotional scenes impacts like a bad trick it’s hard to fall for.
The movie is still enjoyable as it depicts 1920s New York with insight and great attention to detail. Marion Cotillard delivers a beautiful performance that makes the movie, along with Joaquin Phoenix whose consistently sensitive acting brings real emotion to the screen.
Read more reviews from Cannes Film Festival here.
For further information about the festival visit the official website here.
Watch a clip from The Immigrant here